At least three bears will be killed in order to put an end to what one conservation officer says is a significant public safety risk at the Adams Lake Indian Band.
The remaining six or seven cubs will be tranquilized and sent to a rehabilitation facility in Smithers for the winter before being released into the wild, said Darcy MacPhee, an acting inspector for the conservation service.
“In a perfect world we’d prefer not to kill any (bears), but this isn’t a perfect world,” MacPhee told The Daily News. “Some will definitely have to be euthanized.”
MacPhee, two other COs and a wildlife biologist will be on the reserve today setting traps and tracking the bears. He expects it will take a couple of days to deal with the animals.
Officials with the Adams Lake band notified COs late last week about the bear problem. MacPhee said two families of bears — nine to 11 animals in total — are prowling the community, located where the South Thompson River meets Little Shuswap Lake on the outskirts of Chase.
The problem is twofold, he said. A hot, dry summer has dried up the berries. As a result, the bruins have come into the community for food.
Then there’s the ratio of bears.
“Instead of having nine bears spread over a very large area, they are in a very confined area,” he said. “It’s a significant public safety risk.”
There were two run-ins Monday night, said MacPhee. In one case a bear occupied a yard with a five-year-old child. In another, a bruin took a run at a man who was trying to drive the animal away.
An employee at the Sahhaltkum Daycare said bears spent most of the day Monday hanging out in an apple tree across the street. Two weeks ago one walked up a daycare window and peered in.
The woman, who declined to identify herself, said it’s unusual to have so many bears so close to people. She said the bear is an important part of her band’s culture and people hope the animals can be relocated.
An official with the Adams Lake Indian Band said the band will comment Wednesday.